It’s no secret: brands spend a ton of time and energy creating content. But it’s not enough to simply do the work — keeping track of how each piece of content is performing and using metrics to improve future campaigns is vital to achieve long-term goals.
That’s where a robust audit strategy comes in. By regularly monitoring and analyzing digital marketing efforts, content creators gain insight into improving campaigns and driving more conversions.
Lean in to spring cleaning mode by downloading Candor’s handy digital marketing audit checklist! Below, we’ve provided detailed questions for brands to ask when walking through the items. Consider this a basic strategy — we encourage content creators to brainstorm additional questions relevant to their specific situations.
AUDITING A WEBSITE
Is it up to date? This may seem obvious, but it’s important for brands to regularly audit all website pages to ensure information is accurate and void of grammar issues or typos. The Google search algorithm also dings brands which adopt the “set it and forget it” approach, meaning websites are never updated. Google favors websites which are regularly maintained and updated.
Is Google Analytics installed? Analytics platforms allow companies to track important website actions, including how long users stay on the site, what pages are visited the most and if users are converting into customers. Knowing how people interact with sites can help brands optimize the user experience.
Is it driving actions? A purely informational website lacking calls-to-action is a missed opportunity. Consider adding a newsletter sign-up pop-up banner or a prompt for people to reach out for a demo. If forms are set up, make sure they work properly and submissions are sent to the appropriate contacts.
Is it mobile optimized? A website which isn’t optimized for mobile is a website which doesn’t work — period. In Candor’s experience, anywhere from 60% to 80% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. It’s imperative the mobile experience is effective and efficient.
How fast does the website load? For every 1-second delay it takes a page to load, conversion rates drop by 7%. If a website doesn’t load quickly enough, it could result in a loss of customers or leads. Start by ensuring graphics are optimized for web by compressing them to be less than 1MB. Not sure how long it takes to load? Try using Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool.
AUDITING EMAIL MARKETING
Have goals been determined? Are branded emails created with a purpose, or are they sent out simply because someone on the team feels it has to happen? Each email campaign — whether sent twice a month or twice a year — must accomplish a strategic goal. Goals could be as simple as “keeping customers informed” or “sharing information about a new webinar.”
Is the contact list current? Before sending each new email campaign, check the contact list to ensure it’s up to date. Contacts can be added manually or automatically through a web form pop-up or link on social media channels. Keeping the list current, active and growing will ensure interested people are receiving email marketing content and will likely improve open rates.
Is the template optimized for mobile? A custom template may look beautiful on desktop but absolutely awful when viewed on a mobile device. Because we live in a mobile-first world, always send plenty of test emails to check content is both easy to read and navigate in a mobile environment.
Have frequency and send times been evaluated? It can be easy to get stuck in a routine, so switching up how often and when email campaigns are sent might increase engagement — or it could do the opposite. Test different frequencies and send times and evaluate changes in open rate and click-through rate to determine the sweet spot.
Have subject lines been A/B tested? A/B testing email subject lines is one of the most effective ways of optimizing email marketing efforts. Most email platforms allow users to split email lists to test campaign subject lines. Writing an effective subject line can be tricky, so trying different approaches to see what resonates most with audiences can be beneficial in driving high open rates.
AUDITING PAID SEARCH
How often are campaigns monitored and updated? The key to a successful paid search strategy is constant monitoring and optimization. This includes taking a regular and close look at budget, ad copy, keywords, etc. At Candor, we set a calendar alert once or twice a week and spend 30-45 minutes evaluating current results/needed edits.
Have bid strategies been tested? With a variety of bid strategy options, it’s important for brands to test which is most successful for specific campaigns, whether the goal is clicks, impressions, conversions or views. Candor recommends utilizing Google Ads campaign experiments to test bid strategies and determine which will best meet the campaign’s goal. Experiments allow brands to A/B test campaigns by splitting the budget between bid strategies, comparing the effectiveness of the original strategy and applying the experiment to the campaign if it proves more effective.
Are all relevant ad extensions utilized? Ad extensions expand the content in an ad with additional information, such as a phone number, location or details like “free delivery” or “24/7 customer support.” This gives ads greater visibility and prominence in search results, i.e., providing users even more reason to click and providing brands more bang for their buck.
Are conversions tracked? It’s easy to see which ads and keywords are generating the most impressions and the highest click-through rate, but understanding which ones are driving the most conversions takes a bit more work. Whether a sales lead or an e-commerce conversion, adding Google Conversion tags to websites is the best way for brands to analyze which content is successful and optimize ad spend.
Have negative keywords been added? Negative keywords let brands exclude search terms from campaigns to better focus on keywords that matter most to customers. Excluding the keyword “hotline” in an ad group promoting public relations crisis management services, for example, could weed out unwanted traffic from people looking for crisis help lines. Set time aside once a week to review each campaign’s Search Terms Report. This is the most accurate source of relevant negative keywords and is the best way to ensure irrelevant searches won’t trickle into the account.